On September 21, The Hobbit turns seventy-five. That's not a very advanced age for a hobbit, of course, but it is still an occasion well worth noting. The Hobbit is a book beloved by millions, and it has served for many as the gateway to a lifelong love of Tolkien's works. Nevertheless, I often feel that The Hobbit lives a little too much in the shadow of The Lord of the Rings. Sitting on a shelf next to the three larger volumes that come after, The Hobbit is easily overlooked, dismissed as a simple, childish "prequel" to Tolkien's great masterpiece. The 75th Anniversary provides a wonderful occasion on which to turn the spotlight back onto this brilliant little book. I can think of no better way to celebrate The Hobbit's birthday than to give it a good, open-minded re-reading, and my book Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Hobbit" is my invitation to you to join me in this delightful project.
For those of you who are not familiar with my podcast, The Tolkien Professor, let me explain something right away. I know that many people find the idea of "literary criticism" rather tiresome, and the thought of some English professor "dissecting" a book that they hold dear is rather awful. In my book, I seek only to invite you to take a slow stroll through The Hobbit with me, stopping long enough to pay attention to its subtleties and to take note of the larger themes and ideas the story engages with. I won't be examining the book like a lab specimen, but enjoying it with you and sharing with you the things I find so amazing about this book. Whether you are reading The Hobbit for the first time or coming back to it for the thirtieth time, I think you will find that there are always new marvels to discover.
To my podcast listeners, let me express my gratitude and my admiration. This book is not only for you, it is also from you; it is the product of your enthusiasm as much as of mine. When I started my podcast in 2009, thinking it would be fun to share some of my thoughts about my favorite books, I had no idea how dynamic, how thoughtful, and how dedicated an audience would find me. I have enjoyed the last three years of discussion, debate, and camaraderie with you enormously. This book is only one of the first fruits to be borne by the branch of the Tree of Story that we have been unfolding together, and I am tremendously excited to see what else we will build together.
I hope you will all have the chance to read The Hobbit again this fall, and thanks for joining me on my little adventure.
I thought the book might be a little dry but Olsen is a fine writer that held my interest and made me want to read more. I found this book fun to read and learned so many things. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Heidihamberger@aol
We read The Hobbit as part of our fantasy genre, and I rely heavily on this book for source notes and explanations.Published 4 months ago by Jmill
Corey Olsen has written a readable, detailed, insightful commentary to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit. Read morePublished 5 months ago by ROBERT MOYNIHAN
I thought I was already well versed on THE HOBBIT but this pleasant book showed me many subtle points that I'd missed. It reads like a friendly chat with a veteran scholar.Published 5 months ago by Sandra Miesel
Made The Hobbit brand new again! Loved this book. A must-have for any one who has read The Hobbit.Published 5 months ago by Ryan D. Walker
I loved this. It made me appreciate aspects of The Hobbits I couldn't quite put into words, and definitely showed how The Hobbit serves as a bridge between The Silmarillion and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Loves to Knit
I am not a fan of Tolkien or The Hobbit, just someone who has found the author's works interesting enough to read a couple of times. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Richard Chambers
Dr. Olsen is one of the most insightful scholars on J.R.R. Tolkien today. While his research is thorough, his writing style is accessible to scholars and laypersons alike. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Thomas G. Romano
Corey Olsen is the Tolkien Professor for a reason. This is an excellent overview of The Hobbit in light of a close reading without a lot of theoretical baggage. Read morePublished 10 months ago by robosnake